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March-23-2020

The Unity Scoop – March 23, 2020

Dear Students and Families of Unity,

I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe as we embark on a new week together.  As of today, we are 100% remote as a full grades 6-12 school.  I am especially pleased to report that we had a student participation rate just under 90% today, which is close to our average attendance rate over the school year.  This is a remarkable accomplishment given all that we are facing as a community.  Again, I want to shout-out our staff for their continued hard work in successfully launching remote learning.  I also wish to shout-out families for your collaboration and good work in setting your children up to engage in their education from home.

In today’s edition of The Scoop, I offer updates on remote coursework and materials.  I am also continuing to include a number of reminders that remain relevant to families in being fully up-to-date on how we best support one another and our students through these challenging times.

As a reminder, the Daily Scoop is posted on our homepage at unityprep.org.  If you have questions, concerns, and/or ideas in response to any update, don’t hesitate to respond to this note by email.   A Unity staff member will be in touch at their earliest convenience.  Thank you to those who offered responses to updates over the past few days.

Updates as of March 23, 2020

1. Thank you for Completing the Family Survey This Past Weekend: We have reviewed your feedback and are pleased that families, in general, are feeling positive about our actions as a school thus far in response to the pandemic.  Based on the survey responses we received, limited access to technology and the internet pose a challenge for a number of our families.  We are now working with families to address these challenges.  Again, thank you for your feedback.  We will ask all families to complete a follow-up survey at the end of this week.

2. Updated – Materials to Engage in Remote Learning – Communication and Support Moving Forward: Students should now have access to the resources and materials to engage in remote learning.  Moving forward, here is some helpful information for you:

Unity Middle School:

Unity High School:

  • Students will receive a message in Jupiter about how to access their virtual classroom via Zoom and Google Classroom by this evening.  All you need for your first class is a computer or laptop with a wifi connection.
  • Spectrum is offering free internet for households with grades K-12 students; caregivers should call 1-844-579-3743 or 1-844-488-8395 to sign up.
  • If you have questions concerning high school materials, including laptops, contact UPHS by emailing help.hs@unityprep.org or calling the main office at 718-682-3725. Please note that during this time, reaching the main office by phone will be limited and email is preferred.

3. Update – Remote Learning Continues This Week: Now that we are up and running with remote learning across the full school, here is an update on what you need to know:

Middle School:

  • We will continue remote classes tomorrow at 8 AM.  Students should log into their Google Classroom and Zoom meetings for each class just as they did today.
  • If you have technical questions or other concerns, please reach out to your child’s advisor.  If they don’t have an answer for you, they will be able to share your question with the appropriate staff member.

High School:

  • Check your Jupiter messages this evening for details on your child’s schedule, teacher contact information, and Google Classroom log-ins.
  • For each class, students should go to their Google Classroom prior to the start of class and use the links in Google Classroom to open the Zoom meeting for their class and any class materials. Please try to open everything 10 minutes before the class start time to ensure that your child is able to start learning at the beginning of class.
  • Reach out to your child’s teachers via the contact information provided if you have questions during class time.
  • Here is what you need to know about grading:
    • Each week. students will be assessed using the following:
      • At least 1 classwork per session
      • 1 HW per week
      • At least 1 assessment per week (includes quizzes)
    • HW is due by 11:59 PM the night prior to the next session
    • All classwork, whether student attends live class or not, is due by 11:59 PM on the day of session
    • Students who attend all sessions during the week in any given course will receive a “bonus” in that course
      • Example:
        • Student attends 2 out of 3 ELA sessions next week- no bonus
        • Student attends 100% of ELA sessions next week – bonus
  • Attendance for each class will be taken in Jupiter. We will send a robocall to inform families when a student misses 1 or more classes on a remote learning day.

4. Attention 8th Grade Families: See the two important notes below in securing a high school seat for the 2020-21 School Year:

  • The Unity Letter of Intent to attend Unity High for the 2020-21 school year is due this Friday, March 27th.  8th grade families who are interested in attending Unity High in the fall should contact Mr. Beckford at cbeckford@unityprep.org or 862-294-0219 as soon as possible. He is available to answer any remaining questions and to confirm your child’s acceptance within our records.
  • NYCDOE high school offers were shared for Unity 8th graders this past Friday.  If you would like to review your child’s NYCDOE high school offer, you are welcome to log onto Myschools account.
  • To support you in making an informed final decision for your child, Unity is scheduling 1-on-1 meetings with each 8th grade family through next week.  Please complete the following form to schedule an appointment during the week of March 23rd-27th. Schedule an appointment today.

5. Reminder – Tutorial on Using Zoom, Our Remote Classroom Platform: This helpful tutorial provides helpful information on the video conferencing application we are using while teaching remotely, including what you need to use Zoom, how you download it, how you can join a meeting, and what tools are available.

6. Reminder – Supplemental Resources to Continue Your Child’s Learning at Home: Between now and the launch of remoting learning, we encourage you to support your child at home in keeping their academic skills fresh.  The NYCDOE’s Learn at Home site provides learning resources to students to complete while they are receiving instruction.  It is important that students continue to read, write, complete social studies and science activities, and work on math problems.  The materials are organized by grade level and include the following:

  • Suggested daily study schedules
  • Guides and materials for instructional activities
  • Recommended educational television shows
  • Links to a variety of books, magazines, and websites on a wide range of topics that appeal to children at all ages

7. Reminder – Extension of Remote Learning through April 20th: Unity will extend its suspension of all onsite educational programming, including extra-curricular events, through April 20th.  This timeline and plan aligns with the NYC Department of Education’s plan, as announced yesterday for all of its schools.  Students will not report to our middle and high school sites for instruction during this time.

8. Reminder – Free Internet at Home: Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. Internet access at home will be critical for students to complete their remote learning assignments To enroll, call 1-844-579-3743 or 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.

9. Reminder – Free Breakfast and Lunch Grab-and-Go Meals are available at all NYCDOE Public Schools: Unity students may go to any NYCDOE school building (including PS44) between 7:30am – 1:30pm today and until further notice to pick up a bagged breakfast and bagged lunch for free.  Meals will be in the lobby or cafeteria of each building.

10. Reminder – Mental Health Counseling and Social Work Services Available to Unity Students who Receive Counseling:  If your child receives counseling, you will hear from their counselor in the coming days to coordinate services and identify needs.  If your child or family member is experiencing a mental health crisis, NYC Well is available 24 hours a day and can be accessed by phone (1888-NYC-WELL) or text (text WELL to 65173) or by internet chat via their website: https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/.  Please reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio via phone or text (347-688-9107) or email (tdelpurgatorio@unityprep.org) if you have any questions about continuation of counseling services or are concerned about your child’s mental health.  Unity social workers can also be of assistance in providing information regarding social services (for example: housing, access to food, access to community mental health services, referrals to mental health providers, crisis intervention, etc.).

11. Updated – We encourage families to check NYSDOH’s website and the CDC’s website regularly for updates:  Here are the last recommendations as posted on the NYCDOE’s website as of March 17th, include the following:

Precautions:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
  • Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Do not shake hands. Instead, wave or elbow bump.
  • Monitor your health more closely than usual for cold or flu symptoms.
  • Get your flu shot – it’s never too late.
  • Reduce overcrowding by walking or biking to work, if possible.
  • If the train is too packed, wait for the next one.

If You Feel Sick:

  • Stay home and call your doctor if you have symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, fever, sore throat.
  • If you do not feel better in 24-48 hours, contact your doctor.
  • Do not go to school or to work until you have been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever reducing drugs like Tylenol or ibuprofen.
  • If you need help getting medical care, call 311.

For More Information

In unity,

Josh Beauregard

Head of School / Co-founder

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